About 50 youngsters in the age group of 10 to 25 years, belonging to Sikh families based in the US and Canada, have written an open letter to members of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). They have primarily sought uniting the Sikh Panth under the rehat maryada, guided by Guru Granth Sahib.
The youngsters, who are receiving training in Sikh tenets at the local Guru Granth Sahib Academy, being run by former Akal Takht jathedar Prof Darshan Singh, have demanded re-establishing Sarbat Khalsa for all future Panthic decisions and setting up more institutions for Sikh education. The academy has been operational for the past eight years.
Darshan Singh was excommunicated from the Panth on January 29, 2010, for allegedly making objectionable remarks while performing kirtan in a gurdwara in New York (US). He had courted controversy by demanding that Dasam Granth should not be kept in gurdwaras as the additions to its text were yet to be authenticated.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Darshan Singh reiterated his demand for a research panel to authenticate additions to the Dasam Granth.
The youngsters have demanded allowing and encouraging Sikh women to perform kirtan at Harmandar Sahib. "Sikhism has been founded and continues to flourish on the premise of social justice and activism. We will use our voice and freedom to put a stop to those who are attacking Sikhism internally," says the letter.
The letter has also demanded that an All India Gurdwara Act be implemented so that all Panthic decisions are implemented in all gurdwaras across India, besides seeking that all electoral procedures be monitored in order to prohibit the distribution of alcohol.
It also demanded transparency in all financial and decision-making processes of the SGPC and introducing alcohol/drug prohibition in Punjab.
The writers of the letter also demanded amending the definition of Sehajdharis to eliminate their inclusion as Sikhs, thereby prohibiting them from participating in the election of jathedars. They also demanded prohibiting distribution of "bhang da parshad" at Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib.